Singapore

Chess federation defamation suit to continue

A judge has thrown out an appeal by 24 members of the Singapore Chess Federation (SCF) that argued that a suit filed by its treasurer Jasmin Nisban over a letter he claimed had defamed him should be struck off as an abuse of the court process.

Justice Choo Han Teck said such claims are matters for a trial to settle.

In judgment grounds on Monday, he said: "Where else can the plaintiff seek redress and justice if his claim is struck out?"

Mr Nisban had claimed that 39 members of the federation had libelled him in January last year and sued them. The alleged offending remarks were found in a letter attached to a requisition that 51 members signed.

The letter was sent to the SCF executive committee calling for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM).

After Mr Nisban filed a suit against the 39 members, 24 of them successfully applied to strike out the suit before a deputy registrar in the State Courts in February.

The court had then ruled there was no "substantial tort" against Mr Nisban, the benefit minimal to him and his suit an abuse of process. Mr Nisban appealed, and a district judge in June restored the suit.

Justice Choo ruled that each case "must turn on its own facts", noting the defamatory words were found in a letter circulated among SCF members seeking signatures to expel the incumbent executive committee through an EGM.

He added it was "speculative" to argue the recipients referred would not have believed the libel against Mr Nisban. - THE STRAITS TIMES

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